Golf Blogs

Q + A : Episode 4 of the Guest Blog with Daniel Davey Leinster and Dublin Nutritionist

The latest blog post in our guest series with experts in their respective field is Daniel Davey.
Daniel is co-founder of FoodFlicker and a performance nutritionist currently working in professional rugby with Leinster Rugby and elite gaelic football with the Dublin football team.

Robbie Cannon

Daniel, First of all many thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for followers of the blog series! The majority of questions i get from clients regarding nutrition for golf is what to eat on the golf course. I always tell them that the most important part of nutrition for golf is the meal they have leading up to before they go warm up and play. Could you give us some information on whats the best nutrition to have before you go play and how soon should you have it before you are on the first tee. Most golfers will have at least a half hour practice session prior to tee off. Also i get a lot of nutrition queries regarding a players tee off time(early/late etc.) Should they have a big breakfast before they go play? Should they have a big lunch before the afternoon round?

Daniel Davey

When it comes to the benefits of nutrition what really matters is your long-term daily habits and how you are meeting your specific health and performance nutrition needs over time. Closer to your practice round or competition, nutrition is something that must be considered in phases. There is the preparation phase, the performance phase and the recovery phase after you play the round. The preparation phase will mainly focus on the 24-36 hour period before the round where there is a moderate increase in energy intake and a close monitoring of hydration by following the weight, thirst, urine colour (WTU index). The performance phase will include the foods / fluids you eat on course during competition to maintain energy levels and hydration, which, we will deal with later.

Golf is different to most other sports due to the length of a round and the high demands for intense focus and concentration, in short intervals over a 4-5 hour period. In the preparation phase it is hugely important to eat a meal that is slow digesting, avoids any stomach distress and maintains energy levels over a 2-3 hour time frame. Unlike high intensity team sports where athletes must eat a large meal at least 3-4 hours in advance of kick-off, golfers can have a large meal within 2 hours of tee time without suffering stomach upset in the onset of beginning the round.

The foods that people eat are individual to them, some people may like a warm meal such as cooked porridge with banana and milk, eggs and brown toast, or sweet potato and chicken while others may prefer a quinoa chicken salad or brown bread sandwiches with soup. Each of those meals will provide the body with a slow release of energy while avoiding any stomach upset and dips in energy throughout the performance. If you have an early morning round it’s important to have something pre-prepared for breakfast the night before. Overnight oats, a breakfast smoothie or a Bircher muesli are good options as they are slow digesting and have a decent source of protein.

RC

What foods should the golfer be eating on the course and how often. Depending on how long they are out there a golfer can burn well over a thousand calories over a four to five hour round.

DD

The guidelines for on course nutrition are to eat something every 3-4 holes that is easy to digest, low in fibre and palatable. Suitable foods include dried fruit, nuts, seeds, homemade granola bars, fruit, homemade protein energy bars. Smaller amounts of practical non-sticky dry foods will work best as they are easy to store and won’t go soggy in your golf bag. I generally advise the golfers I work with to make their own homemade snacks, firstly because they are in control of what they are eating and also they are generally higher quality and more nutritious than off-shelf products. The routine of making homemade snacks is also good mental preparation for athletes as it helps them get into a focused mind-set for competition.

RC

Even though its March and still pretty much winter here in Ireland most golfers won’t drink enough water on the course. Also some of our readers and professionals will be playing in Super Hot conditions over the coming months. What are your hydration recommendations for golfers who are on the golf course for 4-5 hours in cool and hot conditions.

DD

Hydration is one of the areas I believe could offer the greatest benefits to golfer’s performance. There are a number of approaches a golfer can take to their hydration depending on conditions and if it’s a practice round or tournament. Water is usually fine for a practice round if consumed in sufficient amounts and if the conditions are temperate. However, if it’s warm or if you are playing a 2-4 day competition then an electrolyte drink is advisable. Using hydration (electrolyte) tablets with water is one practical way of creating your own electrolyte drink. Fluid intake in the heat must be significantly increased compared to mild or cold conditions. Recommendations will vary depending on body size and sweat rates but aim to consume 200 -300 mL of an electrolyte solution every 15 minutes in the heat. If you are sweating profusely then fluid intake may need to be even higher. If you would like to read more on the importance of hydration and hydration strategies for performance click

RC

What are your best nutritional tips for helping the golfer recover after a round. Also on another note here in Ireland our amateur championships and scratch cups have 36 holes in one day so players are required to fuel up between rounds and sometimes very quickly! Any tips to help a player fuel up fast while stay alert and avoid an energy slump at the start of their second round.

DD

The type of food and the timing of your recovery meal are the main considerations when it comes to rapid recovery after an intense round of golf. The primary focus is rehydration and replenishing depleted energy levels with a suitable slow digesting and balanced carbohydrate, protein and fat meal. In the first phase of recovery something like a fruit smoothie is a good option while a nutritious meal like salmon, potato and roast vegetables is good for the second phase of recovery. That will help the body and mind to heal and regenerate after a long intense round.

RC

A lot of golfers will have some early tee times this coming season and unless you are on the PGA Tour a hot breakfast at away events can be hard to get! What would you recommend for golfers to purchase the night before so they can have some breakfast at 5.30am before their 7am tee time?

DD

Oats, nuts, seeds, yogurt and whey protein are all very easy to carry when travelling and can make up the basis of a nutritious breakfast or snack. All you need to buy on the road is fresh fruit and maybe some fresh milk which will make up a breakfast smoothie or an overnight protein oats. Hydration before an early round is also a vital area for consideration as you are more likely to begin the round dehydrated if you haven’t consumed sufficient fluids with breakfast

Keep an eye out for Part Two which will be posted in a few days.

You can find Daniel and find more articles and recipes ideas here:
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Blog Post from University of Louisville Golf Coach Aaron O Callaghan

The latest blog post features Aaron O Callaghan. Aaron is the assistant golf coach for the University of Louisville Golf Team.

This is a must read article for parents of anyone considering a scholarship to the USA.

 

RC

Hi Aaron , Many thanks for taking the time to be a part of the Cannon Performance blog and I’m really looking forward to hearing your views and thoughts on the American college golf system. Its certainly been a big success for a lot of Irish golfers over the last twenty years.

AC

Robbie, The American college system has been a tremendous success for young golfers in many different ways.

It is an incredible opportunity to develop talent at the highest level while continuing ones education. There are countless Irish golfers that have played college golf and have had very positive experiences. In many cases Irish golfers end up remaining in the States. America has been very good to me. I have enjoyed living in different cities and I have fortunate to be surround with amazing people.

 

RC First of all Aaron, Tell us about you and your story. We played amateur golf together about 15 years ago for a few seasons and you had a lot of success back then. Tell us about your journey and how you took up golf. Im sure people would love to hear why you went down the college coach route.

 

AC I began playing pitch and putt at the age of 8. I loved going to the pitch and putt club with my father Brendan. This laid the foundations of my love affair with golf. My eldest brother Wayne turned professional when I was just getting started. The conversations in my house were centered around sport, and mostly about golf. I decided at a very young age that I wanted to be a professional golfer. At the age of 12, I began to play golf. It was a thrill for me to go to the course with the aim to get better every day. By nature I am a very competitive person. Golf enabled me to constantly compete against myself. I was able to see improvement quickly in my game as my scores lowered. At the age of 15, I was very fortunate to be selected by the GUI for the Irish Boys panels. This placed me in an environment of excellent coaches and players on a regular basis. As my game progressed, I was able to play to a high level on a world stage. Playing in North America, Asia and across Europe gave me experience and a taste of a golf professional’s lifestyle. I wanted to play college golf in the states from aged 16. Having played for the Great Britain and Ireland Boys team, I was recruited by a number of college programs. I followed in the footsteps of a number of Irish players and committed to play at Southeastern Louisiana University.

I knew that the best players in amateur golf played in the states and I wanted to test my ability against them. I had a tremendous experience at Southeastern. My college career was up and down but during these years I continued to learn more about myself. As I matured, I began to focus more on my academics and began to plan ahead. College golf opened my eyes to the level of competition. The talent is so deep that after 4 years of competing, the reality was that I was not in a position to turn professional and play full time. Without any status and little financial backing, it was not in my best interest to play mini tours, nor did it appeal to me. At the time, my game was too inconsistent to be able to be successful at the level that I wanted.

The opportunity to come on as an Assistant Golf Professional at Baton Rouge Country Club in Louisiana meant that I was able to stay in the states and enter the PGA program. I immediately started my training and loved the instructional aspect of my job. I spent 5 years at the club where I was able to play in professional events and instruct golf. As I developed my knowledge as an instructor, the more I enjoyed teaching. Once the opportunity came to join the University of Louisville coaching staff, I couldn’t resist. It meant that I would have the opportunity to coach aspiring young athletes in the pursuit of their dream of playing golf professionally. For me, working with highly motivated people is a thrill. It drives me and I get a lot of satisfaction from helping others. I want to be the best I can be. The position of a college coach forces me to continue to learn and adapt with new players.

 

 

RC   Having spent some time with you recently at the University of Louisville it was very evident to see the passion you have for coaching and for the game of golf. You clearly miss playing golf. When did you realise you were not going to make a living out of playing tournament golf? I feel some people out there struggle to realise how good you have to be to make a living out of tournament golf and the talent that Tour players possess. Was it a tough decision to go down the coaching route and did you always have such a passion for coaching?

 

 

AC There are many golfers that I grew up playing against that are struggling to make a living on the mini tours. I admire players that are persistent in chasing the dream of playing at the highest level. This lifestyle is not for me. I certainly miss competitive golf. I maintain my PGA membership here in the states and I hope to compete in some sectional events in 2017.

 

I get so much enjoyment from coaching and seeing improvement in others. Once I began instructing and coaching, it struck me how much I loved doing it! College sports in America are as good as it gets. I knew from my experience that I would be surrounded by highly motivated people that want to win. I jumped at the opportunity to be able to develop aspiring professionals golfers and be competitive at the highest level of amateur golf. My passion for coaching has really developed the more experience that I get. It is an incredible feeling to see development in players. I have tasted a little bit of success in coaching, reaching some new benchmarks University of Louisville in my first recruiting class. I am now in my 3rd year at Louisville and I love it more than ever. I get excited to see the progress in our players both on and off the course.

 

 

RC I work with a lot of talented golfers in their late teens here in Ireland and the UK and there is always talk of the next step for them . There is a lot of interest from them to go to university in the states. I feel that some of the kids and parents don’t know enough about the system . Could you talk to us about the system. How it works. What grades you need. Scholarship opportunities etc.

 

 

AC The next step from high level of amateur golf to the college golf system is a great option. I believe that it is the best measuring stick for young players. The future tour players are in the college system now. If you can’t beat them in four years of college I feel that it is unlikely at the next level. There are many programs that prepare the players so well in college that they are ready once they leave to compete against the best.

 

It is always best for aspiring golfers to take the initiative in the process of looking at Universities in the States. All programs are unique. I find that many Europeans believe that the weather is the number one factor in where they would like to play. Although this can be an important factor, prioritizing the weather is very naive. The most important factor is the Coach of the program. He will make or break your experience. There are so many aspects to consider ahead of the weather – academic standards, tournament schedule, teammates, facilities, and golf courses available. Playing time is often overlooked by many players. In my opinion, playing tournaments is the fastest way to improve. As there are only 5 players that are in the travel squad, it is important to go to a program that is fitted to your ability level. I haven’t come across a player that is happy when they are outside of the starting line up. Scholarship is also very important for internationals since University can be expensive! All teams have 4.5 scholarships to divide up to their team. It is unrealistic to expect a full scholarship in most cases. That being said, it is vital that a budget is made out and planned over 4 years. Scholarship is typically improved with great performance.

Current and past team members can be a great source of information. I encourage golfers to reach out to team members to inquire about the program and what is like.

This link helps to explain some of the important recruiting rules- https://www.ajga.org/parents/collegegolf.asp

 

 

Golfers should create a resume. This should include their golfing achievements and videos with a personal statement and aspects of their game. Be proactive with calls to coaches and emailing for information. Take visits to the programs that are of interest. Players can request an unofficial (out of pocket) visit at any age. The University pays for an official visit. This consists of a maximum of 48 hours on campus. The SAT exam has to be taken, and the visit must take place after September 1st of the prospect’s final year of high school. Coaches are allowed to contact players after September 1st of their second to last year of secondary school.

 

There are many conferences in the States. The ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac 12 are part of the Power 5 Conferences. These conferences have the most resources available. The current PGA tour and European tour is filled with players from these conferences.

Academic standards differ in each University. The better high school grades, the more attractive a golfer is to a coach. A prospect must take the SAT exam early. This is vital to become eligible to play in the states. The exam can be taken multiple times. Create a profile at the NCAA eligibility center https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/

 

 

 

RC Having been to the university of louisville last month I got to witness first hand what an amazing program with fantastic facilites you have over there. Tell us about what is happening over there with you guys and what both mens and womens teams get to experience when attending the university of louisville.

 

Louisville is one of the fastest growing athletic programs in the US. We have joined the ACC conference in 2014, and as a result all 23 sports have seen rapid improvements. The University has spent over 400 million on facilities in the last number of years and it will not stop there!

Being a Cardinal in Louisville is very special. The city has over a million people without a professional sports team, so the University of Louisville athletes are revered.

The athletes here are fortunate to have an extensive support system in place. For our golf team alone, we have two golf coaches, a director of operations, academic advisor, strength and conditioning coach, a nutritionist, and sports psychologist.

 

We purchased a golf course in 2014 and we have continued to make improvements to our facilities. The University of Louisville Golf Club is considered one of the premier practice facilities in the country. We are also fortunate to have a large number of different courses to play. Valhalla is the best course we play and is a true test for an aspiring professional. Coaches at Louisville have high expectations of their athletes, and players in the programs are pushed on a daily basis to improve. The programs at Louisville require high work ethic in every area of the being a student athlete.

If there is anyone that may have questions regarding our program-

My email address is aarono@gocards.com

My mobile number is (001)502 744 5352

 

AC

 

RC Aaron, Its been a pleasure having you on the blog and thanks for all the great information about the college system

 

AC . Its been a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

 

 

Whats going on?

Robbie was at the Honda Classic last week with Shane. IMG_1690 IMG_1726 IMG_1707 IMG_1711

Whats going on?

Robbie was in Dubai last week working with the members and professionals of Emirates GC.

IMG_1588

Thank You Pro

 

Its 9am on the 26th of December . St Stephens Day here in Ireland. I look out the window and it is absolutely bucketing down. A day in the pub watching a super day of horse racing and sport was on the cards.  Then i can hear Bobby’s  voice in my head  “Well Pro. Get the wets on. Lets go hit a few ”  So i got changed and hopped in the car and drove the twenty minutes from Balbriggan to Bettystown. I got the wets on and strolled over to the practice ground in Laytown and Bettystown Golf Club where i learned so much over the years from the great man. It was a cold and wet day but i was able to get a productive couple of hours practice in, despite the inclement conditions. I felt like i had a purpose again. I felt alive.

This is what i used to do all the time. Grind it out. There wasn’t many others out practicing today i thought. I started to  remember this is how i used to think. Mentally these type of thoughts would give you little victories in your own mind. All them little victories added up would lead to big victories.  The last 15-18 months i have not had many of them small little victories in my own mind.  I certainly had not worked as hard on my game as i had in previous years and the results have shown that. Yes I’m busy in work and studying for a masters and I’m very lucky and thankful of that but there was still time to work on my game. It could be too wet or too windy. Some reason not really good enough for me not to go hit a few. As Bobby said “A little soft” . But maybe i just didn’t have a purpose.

I first heard of  RJ Browne at the age of 17 from my best friend Ian Griffin who was coached by Bobby in Gormanston College. Ian had a fine game. He hit it long and straight off the tee and hit long irons that would take flags out from 200 yards. Meanwhile i was a 5 handicap and had a golf swing which looked like it was killing snakes in a telephone box. But in my defence i had only been playing for two years and i had learned how to play from Jack Nicklaus books i had loaned from the local library. Not really an ideal long term athletic development plan but that was about to change.  Other pupils of Bobbys all seemed to be great ball strikers. Great drivers of the ball and fine exponents of the long irons. I wanted that.

I called Bobby up and booked a lesson. So off i went on foot from my house with the clubs on my back. Golf bags were heavy back then. It was a mile walk from my house to the station. A ten minute train ride from Balbriggan train station to Laytown train station. Then it was a 3 mile walk to the golf club in Bettystown. When i look back at it now i must have been stone cold mad or maybe just one determined young fellow. Many of the walks were in the driving rain and dead into the wind. A great wind for the practice ground in the golf club though!

Bobby and i hit it off from the word go. We shared the same first name and same Initials in our first and second name (RJ) and i loved that.  He treated everybody the same no matter who they were but he could sense my enthusiasm and that i was keen to improve and he admired that.

Lessons with Bobby toughened me up. I remember one occasion he noticed that i had not done much work from the previous lesson. I told him i  couldn’t practice  due to the golf course being closed in Balbriggan. ” No such thing as couldn’t ! Whats wrong with the beach in Balbriggan? Perfect to hit balls off”  So i practiced on the hard sand of the beach for many a winters day in Balbriggan. Got me in trouble with some of the locals but i didn’t care. He knew my flat swing at the time would have to get more on plane to strike a ball crisply off the sand. He always said to me that you could always work on your game no matter where or what the conditions were.

After one of our first lessons he left me on the practice ground to hit a few more while he walked back to the pro shop. I think i hit about twenty shots. I was pretty happy. I have it sussed i thought. So i picked up my tightly bunched group of balls and headed in. I got to the shop and he roared ” What are you doing back in here already, Get back out there you couldn’t have it by now”  So off i went for another couple of hours. He was drilling a work ethic into me. Which was great because i loved working hard at my game.

Sometimes when we are young we don’t realise the life lessons we are getting at that current time. Lessons were not always plain sailing with Bobby. One morning he was trying to get me to do something with my backswing but i was having trouble understanding what he wanted me to do. He wasn’t happy i could tell. He took a long deep sigh and turned away and off he went walking a full sixty yards towards the fence which separated the practice ground from the beach. I was thinking he had finally lost the plot and i was getting a right jab to the left arm on his return. But he walked the sixty yards back and cool as a cucumber explained it to me in another way which i was able to understand. Looking back there was two lessons in that for me.  First of all it woke me up and got me concentrating better. Second of all that walk for him was clearing his head and calming himself down. There has been times myself when coaching when clients are not doing things how id like and sometimes you need a few seconds to gather your thoughts. Taking a walk or a drink of water helps a lot in that regard. Sometimes you need a few moments to clear your head and calm down.

Sadly Bobby passed away yesterday on Christmas Day after fighting with cancer for many years. I will miss him very much. I was lucky enough to spend an hour with him a few weeks ago in the hospital just the two of us having a chat and we both knew we were saying goodbye. He told me he was proud of me with what i had achieved but then gave out to me for not winning more! That was typical of Bobby. He would give you confidence and then challenge you.  ” Hold your finish, Look like a golfer. ” Almost every lesson he would say that to me. He thought me how to play the low stinger and called it my million dollar shot. Then he would challenge me to hit low fades and low draws. I had forgotten how to hit that shot until recently but I’m back working hard on it again with another top coach John Kelly.

Its amazing when someone dear to your heart passes away. It really has given me a purpose to work hard at my golf again. As i get older and learn more about life i believe that having a purpose is key to succeeding in something. No matter what it is. I feel i had lost that purpose somewhat in my golf the last couple of years and thats part of life. It happens. But I know that day in the hospital when he was saying goodbye to me that he was also challenging me. “Get back out there and work hard at it! There is plenty more wins in you”

I feel like i have my purpose back again now thanks to my old friend. I hope i can keep it for a good while because when you have a purpose sometimes good things can happen. In my opinion The word “Legend” is thrown out too easy these days. But the great Bobby Browne was a legend of Irish Golf. I will miss our chats and his words of wisdom. But what he did for my golf and for my life i will be forever thankful. Thank you pro.

 

 

Matchplay, Time for it to take a back seat.

Before you go on the attack, i love matchplay golf. I have a better matchplay record than strokeplay in Irish Amateur Golf and i would probably have a better chance of winning more championships if they were all matchplay format rather than strokeplay. I won 7 matches to win the South of Ireland in 2009 as well as further appearances in the semis and quarters. I have a pretty good win percentage in matchplay from interprovincials to senior cup. I won five matches to get to the final of the West of Ireland only this year. So before you think I’m writing this due to a dislike for matchplay golf its not the case.

So what is my agenda i hear you ask. Yes i do have one. I have quite a few. I will get my own request out of the way first. In fact its not just my request. I’m speaking for the majority of working amateurs in this country. We would like to be able to play in as many golf tournaments as possible without having to take time off work. Pretty fair request i think. Anyway enough about me and the working amateur golfer for the time being. Lets talk about the up and coming elite players.

Like a lot of you out there i would love to see a lot of these great young talents make it to the European Tour and have a successful professional career. We have all rejoiced at the amazing achievements of Rory, Shane, Graeme, Paul, Darren and Padraig. They are an inspiration and fill us with a great sense of national pride. So what can be done to give the next batch of budding superstars the best possible chance of making it in the professional ranks?  In the last few years we have had several of our leading amateurs turn professional yet so far none of them are quite setting the world alight. I have every faith in Kevin Phelan and Alan Dunbar doing the business over the next few years as they are world class players. But is there something that we can do that could help the next batch of leading amateur players? I believe there is. Plus the great thing is, i also feel it can help myself and the working amateur golfers of the country yet also boost the game of golf at grassroots level.

Currently in Ireland 4 of our 6 championships are matchplay events. To put this into reality the English Golf Union has one matchplay tournament The English Amateur Close (where you have to be English).The Scottish Golf Union has one matchplay tournament. The Scottish Amateur Close (yes you have to be a Scot). Of course the biggest one of them all The Amateur Championship is a matchplay event attracting players from all over the world. Without question the preferred format of top amateur golf in the UK and in fact all over Europe is predominately strokeplay championships.

In my opinion changing at least 2 of these matchplay championships  into strokeplay  is  a winner for several parties. Turn them into a 3 day event (36 holes final day) instead of the current standard matchplay event of  5 days.

1. The host club gets 2 more days to earn much needed green fees.

2. The working amateur does not have to take as many days off.

3. The young up and coming elite amateur golfer gets more strokeplay experience (almost all tour events are strokeplay) and also crucially they get to take more rest days in an already cramped playing schedule.

4. More time off for Golfing Union of Ireland officials and volunteers while saving Union expenses at the same time.

West Or Ireland Semi Final 18th hole

 

 

Are there any negatives i hear you ask? Well I’m sure the biggest argument against my idea would be tradition. Several decades of matchplay tournament tradition. Well Im sorry guys. Things change. Amateur golf has completely changed in the 18 years that i have being competing.  Its not amateur golf  in the traditional sense anymore. Its being dominated by professional amateurs. If thats not a change to tradition then i don’t know what is.

I still remember my first two golfing heroes. The first one was a working amateur in his early thirties. Mr Stephen Mc Kenna was the best player in the club when i was starting around 14 years of age. Ill never forget the first shot i seen him play on the first in Balbriggan when he spun a mid iron off the first green. ” Wow” i thought. How did he do that! He was a 2-3 handicapper but we all thought he was God back then. Kids look up to people like that. I have always tried to remember that when i see the juniors in my club and try to help them in any way i can.  The second one Mr Ian Griffin was a fellow Balbriggan junior member and also happened to be my best mate. He was ten times the player i was growing up.  We travelled to all the boys and youths tournaments together and he drove it a country mile with a Seve Ballesteros like short game. “Griff”  played for Leinster at boys and youths level as well as being beaten finalist to G-Mac in the Ulster boys(with yours truly on the bag). He was a different hero to me than Stephen for the simple fact i was busting my backside to try and be as good as him. Both of these guys were a huge part in my development as a player. Without them both in my early golfing years, there is no question i would not have done what I have done so far.

The reason i told you about my first golfing heroes is quite simple. At grassroots level the youngsters of today look up to both the working amateur and the elite amateur. They both serve a purpose and inspire kids to improve their golf. One of my favourite photos of the year was of Dave O Donovan celebrating the winning putt for Muskerry Golf Club in the Barton Shield in September. I was in Cork last week and my friend Stephen Hayes the head professional in Douglas was telling me Davey and his teammates are like players of Manchester United down in the club right now! I love to hear things like that because it means that children are being inspired. It would not be of surprise to hear of some future champions coming out of muskerry in the next 4-5 years.

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 01.02.13pic courtesy of Pat Cashman

 

 

Pat Finn and his staff at the Golfing Union of Ireland are doing a fantastic job. They are constantly trying to improve the structure of the amateur game and have been extremely progressive over the last few years. The elite players are being sent to tournaments all around the world and are having success. I was lucky enough to be sent to South Africa last year along with seven others and it was no surprise that 4 of the panel occupied the last four spots in the West of Ireland a few weeks later. So they have to be applauded for the work so far but their job is not complete. They have been consistently getting feedback from the players trying to figure out the right formula.  Sadly there have been a couple of body blows to the working amateur the last two seasons with the Irish Amateur moving to four days from three and just recently the South of Ireland has been moved back to a Wednesday start from Saturday. It all means more days off work for the working amateur. The South has been moved to attract a better field. Im not sure it will attract the field they are hoping to with these changes. But a 72 hole Strokeplay event on friday , Saturday, Sunday would certainly have.

 

 

IMG_1993Pic . Brian Keogh Irish Golf Desk

 

 

Working in the area of Strength and Conditioning and Sports Performance i love to see Irish Golfers do well and achieve great things across the world. In my opinion the best way of boosting this going forward is to look after both the working amateur and the elite professional amateur. Changing matchplay tournaments to Strokeplay would be a great start. Every top amateur golfer, working or elite,  has a role to play in the future development of golf in this country Every youngster needs someone to look up to. Age or work should not come in the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why you should have a plan

With the golf season coming to an end i am finding more time to catch up on my reading. I love reading. Its relaxing, educational and it sparks a fire in me to be more productive with myself in everything i do whether its work, education or sports. Currently I’m reading a book called “Start with why” from  Simon Sinek. Simon’s passion in life is to inspire people to greater things. Quiet rightly he believes we are all capable of greater things with the correct attitude and application. At some stage we have to take leadership for the things in our lives. Whether its our college course selection, career direction or revamping the process and work ethic to our golf game. One thing that is vital in all decisions is the importance of planning ahead and getting a structured game plan in place. In his book Mr Sinek tells us a story that shows us the importance of getting that plan right from the very beginning.

Japanese Car Makers

A group of executives from An American car company visited Japan to study how the Japanese car company ran their assembly line. It all seemed routine and standard to the American assembly line apart from one process at the end of the line. On the American line they employed someone to tap the edges of the car door with a rubber mallet to ensure the door fitted perfectly on the hinges. Japan had nobody doing this or a machine to do it. On noticing this the American executives asked their Japanese counterparts why wasn’t this done. “We make sure it fits when we design it” was the reply. Japanese car doors last longer and are safer structurally than the American car doors. Why so? It is because they designed the outcome they desired from the start of the process.

Why we should have a fitness plan 

We can learn a lot from our Japanese car making friends when it comes to starting a fitness plan. We need to set ourselves a long term goal and have that final goal in mind from the start. Instead of making short cuts and stop gap solutions we can save ourselves time, protect our long term health  and save some money with a proper long term plan.

First Steps to your golf fitness plan 

August and September is a great time to get your plan together and get a headstart on your 2015 golf season goals. First step is to get a full body screening and assessment which should include a movement screen identifying your mobility and stability weaknesses. These issue’s could be preventing you from getting into technical swing positions that your golf coach wants you to be in. A qualified strength and conditioning coach who is also certified with TPI with a good understanding of the golf swing and the body will ensure there is no stone left unturned.

A body fat measurement is also a good idea so you can monitor your progress over the winter. A leaner golfer equals a more efficient golfer and fat loss with muscle gain should be one of your goals.  A leaner golfer will not only have you better physically but mentally too as looking and feeling good will give you a huge psychological boost.

After your initial screening your trainer will be able to design for you a proper periodised plan for the months ahead. I have all my players on a proper structured plan with different phases for the season. Normally i work on normalising players mobility and stability issues at the first phase before moving on to strength, power and then golf specific. This ensures the player is flexible, strong , explosive and dynamic for the start of the 2015 season.

Having a golf fitness plan is one part of the jigsaw. A player should also sit down with his golf coach/psychologist at this time of year for review and reflection of the 2014 season. Discussing your strengths and weaknesses will enable you to come up with a plan to address any issues that need to be worked on. Structuring your plans from the very beginning , just like the Japanese car makers , gives you the best possible chance to make 2015 your most successful season yet. To quote Oliver Wendell Homes  ” I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving”

 

“The weak don’t last. The strong do.” Ruby Walsh

2013 was a great year. The 2nd half of the season didn’t quite match the first half but any year you win a championship, especially if its the biggest one held on the island of Ireland, its a year to be very content with. All in all i played very inconsistent golf all season but as a friend of mine pointed out, you would much rather play inconsistent and win than play consistent and not win. For 2014 my goal is to play more consistent and win! With the work I’ve been putting in during the off season i see this as a very realistic goal. continue reading

“Fail to prepare, Prepare to fail” Roy Keane

It is the start of September and the golf season is coming to an end. It is the time for review and to evaluate how the season went. A lot of golfers have already thought to 2014 and what they need to do to improve their games for next season. The intelligent and motivated golfers have already put plans in place and have put the wheels in motion to start their off season training in all aspects of their game. continue reading

The Story so far

The first half of the amateur season is done and dusted and after a couple of weeks off, the second half is about to commence with the North of Ireland starting monday. Ive been working on some technical stuff on my swing with Seamus Duffy the last couple of weeks so hopefully i can go into competition mode by monday. Its important to keep working on the fundamentals and skills when you get some time off. It can be very hard to do this during the season in Ireland with so many tournaments in quick succession. But i have done some good work the last couple of  weeks and it will keep me in good shape for the reminder of the season. Im hoping the second half of the season will be just as exciting as the first half. It has flew by so quickly but i guess thats what happens when you are having fun. Im going to write a little about my thoughts on each tournament so far this season and ill start with the latest tournament first. continue reading

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Cannon Performance